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So close!

So close!

James Ward3 May - 16:58
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Finals weekends for juniors and a semi final loss for the O40s

The last 2 weekends have seen non stop hockey activity for much of the club. The Men’s O40s took on Khlasa Leamington in the semi-final of the National O40s, they came up against a fine opponent, packed full of some the best O40s in the country. The O40s took the fight to the reigning champions and led 3-2 with goals from Wardy and 2 from the Viking, but alas they were overpowered in the second half following an onslaught from an ex international drag flicker who gave Jez, the Walker brothers, Wrinchy and JC little hope on the line. The game also finished with Ipswich players down as Foxy was taken to hospital following a very nasty injury with a ball to the eye socket. He is in recovery at the moment and will need an operation or two, we wish him all our best wishes. As it stands, he will be at the club dinner and will be our emcee for the evening; he's determined not to miss it.

Last Sunday Ipswich had representation in the East finals for all 4 categories – boys and girls Under 10s and Under 12s. Only Cambridge City could boast this. I was there for both days, cold and damp, yet I can assure you that Ipswich looked and played the part. It really was a tremendous performance. Before you go through the reports, please do remember that our U8/U10/U12 junior hockey is not just about the players selected for these finals. We have a thriving junior scene and simply cannot select everyone and selecting for this age category was harder than most things we’ve had to do this year! Players develop at different speeds, some go up in age categories next year and next season we will continue to be a club that welcomes everyone at all different levels. The junior plans for next season are already in full swing with summer league teams being entered for 2 junior boys teams 1 junior girls teams (U14!). Thank you to the adults supporting and playing in these teams, it’s such a good way to bring juniors through. We are planning junior hockey in the summer and there are even rumours of a junior festival, awards and disco (although I doubt that term is en vogue). Watch this space.

I would also like to highlight something we are doing that should become the benchmark – we now have a group of junior umpires coming through and in fact a fifth Ipswich Team attended the In2 Regional Finals as 5 of our Young Officials took centre stage up at Harleston at the weekend. Aidan, Charlie, Jack, Jake and Sam joined a group of 18 from across the region, supported by the East Young Officiating Team which included a number of experienced National League Umpires incl. FIH Umpire and Bury member Jake Charles who traces his routes in the early days back to this tournament. Congratulations to Charlie Cooper for picking up the award for U12 umpire of the tournament. Congratulations to Aidan Douse for nomination to the In2 School and Club National Finals in two weeks time up at Nottingham.

Enjoy the reports below and I look forward to seeing you all, especially Foxy, at the club dinner next Saturday. Pictures of the juniors weekend are on the website FYI.

Best, Wardy

Girls U12s - 5th place

A sterling performance from the girls; we defeated Crostyx 2-0 and Dereham 2-1 in the group stages. Losses against eventual winners Cambridge City and semi finalists Bishops Stortford followed meaning a 5th / 6th place play off against City of Peterborough. The girls were magnificent in this game winning in style with a fine corner from Annabelle Bryce. Poppy played well at the back distributing the ball well and had support from Georgie who’s determination and tackling was excellent. Tilly stepped into the defence throughout the day and was calm and composed under pressure and has developed very well this season. Further up Kitty was a menace in midfield taking on players and creating havoc down the right and Emma, our captain, led with determination and strong marking. Lara showed pace and skill down the right and was unfortunate not to score and upfront she was supported by Wardy and Amelie who harried, hassled and made like difficult for the opposition by winning corners.

We must also thank Lilly for donning the pads, without her help, we would not have won the Suffolk championship let alone managed 5th at the East. Thank you and well played, you handled a lot of pressure very well. Finally, Annabelle Bryce – Brycey was one of the stand out players at the tournament scoring – her play was packed with skill, tackling, shooting and leadership – some of her reverse stick shots were spectacular. I know that the other girls, many younger, will have learned a great deal about how to take their game to the next level. We wish Brycey, Lara, Lilly, Emma and Poppy the very best in the U14s next season. James Wrinch and I have had a blast coaching this group this year and I must thank James for his help and counsel and Billy for helping with the U12s and bringing the horse box which doubled up as our clubhouse for the weekend. I reiterate we’re a club with junior strength in depth and I’m excited already about next season and helping develop everyone at all levels.

U10 Girls – Runners-up

The U10G went into the Regionals as 2nd place Suffolk team putting them in a group with Magpie, Saffron Walden, Old Loughts and St Albans. Tough first game against Magpies ended with a 1 nil lost, we had some good chances and held their strong midfield players well. Against S. Walden the team looked strong and secure with the first goal slotted in neatly by Eliza Card, they came back to make it 1-1 with a breakaway goal but Issy Pineo added two more goals to give us the 3-1 win. After a long break in play Old Loughts were next, strong defence by Gabby Swindon and Lily Ripton as well as key saves by Chloe Saunderson kept a clean sheet with excellent inter passes and width from Darcy Sharratt and Sofia Dean keeping up the attacking pressure, eventually resulting in a Sofia Dean goal. In the group game against St Alban we held the majority of possession (with some notable interception by LuLu Card) but couldn’t seem to finish, Mae Woulfe gave a strong defensive performance and some key saves from Chloe Sanderson on their counter attacks kept it to a 0-0 draw.

With a 2nd place in the group we faced Hertford in the semis who has won all their group games. Despite some tired legs there was excellent hockey played, with the ball being passed around the back (sometime at risk!) and spread wide, the game ended as 0-0 meaning flicks. Eliza Card, Sofia Dean and Gabby Swindon volunteered and took the flicks in order, with each slotting them into bottom corners, but so did Herford. Following a swift motivational talk from Katie Card Chloe Saunderson faced the first Herford flick in sudden death, it was a hard bottom left flick but instinct or Stretches training kicked in and Chloe dived to cover it. Gabby stepped up and cooly slotted her second flick to give us the win and take us to the finals. The old foe of Magpies faced us again, both sides battled the tiredness from the day and showcased some excellent hockey. We continued to play a great passing game and both sides had chances but the game remained 0-0 til the last quarter when Magpie took the lead from close range after a short. The team rally and created more good chances but couldn’t find an equaliser. The girls left with the head high and were rightly thrilled with their 2nd place finish.

Under 12 Boys

The U12 boys travelled to Harleston full of confidence. This was justified as they breezed through their group winning all their games only conceding one sloppy short corner goal. They beat Norwich City, Saffron Walden, Chelmsford and Blueharts. Alex was in scintillating form with his best goal being a mazy run from his only half against Blueharts. Joseph was a constant threat down the right hand side and Otto sensibly mixed attack and defence on the left. Finley, George and Sam showed good movement up front and linked nicely with the midfield. In defence Lewis, Freddie and Henry snuffed out opposition attacks and moved the ball well to the midfielders. Max was rarely called on in the first few games but made some crucial saves in the last 2, particularly against Blueharts.

Ipswich went into the semi final against Cambridge knowing they would be in for a tough game. Ipswich started the game well with Freddie and Joseph linking up well on the right. Unfortunately, Cambridge took the lead when a lapse in concentration left a player unmarked in the D. Ipswich responded well with some aerials from Alex finding Otto and Sam in space. A lovely move down the right saw Finley's reverse sweep lift over the goalie and agonisingly wide. Unfortunately, an injury to Alex took the wind out of our sails and saw Cambridge score late goals to win it.

The 3rd/4th playoff saw more injuries and Ipswich finish with no subs. The boys tried hard but unfortunately lost 1-0 to a motivated Blueharts. Overall a good season that has seen the U12s justify their tier 1 status. Well done all.

Under 10 Boys

After qualifying and Suffolk winners the under 10 boys went to Harleston Magpies to represent Suffolk. What started out looking like a miserable rainy day turned into just a normal cold east wind up at Harleston, but we were prepared with Andrew Brice bringing a cattle trailer and setting in up in the car park to provide shelter. The famously known ‘trailer’ with straw bales inside provided a full set of entertainment for the boys every second they were not on the pitch. In a group of 6, including Norwich City, Cambridge Juniors, Blueharts, Crostyx and Bedford, we started will with a 2-0 win against Norwich.

After quite a long break before the 2nd game against Blueharts the boys were a bit slow to get going and when games are only 15 minutes one way you can’t afford a slow start. Max Lever and Noah Wheelhouse defended well at the start, providing our foundation. We battled hard at the end and huffed and puffed at the Blueharts goal towards but were unable to break the deadlock with it finishing 0-0.

After good 2-1 win against Cambridge Juniors followed. Charlie Utley started well up front and we got and 1-0 lead. Unfortunately, Leor Joseph did then concede his first goal in 7 games before some great midfield play from Charlie King and Finn Blemings got us over the line.

The next game against Crostyx was a close affair but a last 5 second winner from William Southgate meant we headed to the final game of the group just needing a point to secure top place. With changes made the boys played amazingly well against Bedford to run out 3-0 winners and top the group. With a stunning goal in the top of the net from William Bryce and also a typical strikers goal from Thomas Ward.

In the crossover games we played Cambridge City in what was an amazing game for under 10s, lots of good skills created many opportunities at either end with Leor Joseph in goal keeping us in the game in the early stages. We didn’t take our numerous opportunities created down the right where Archie Southgate put in some strong tackles and some great runs forward, but the ball kept flashing across the Cambridge goal. Unfortunately, with around 4 minutes to go Cambridge scored. With not enough time to get back on level terms it wasn’t our year to make it to the final. The boys put in maximum effort, and we had enough chances for the result to be the opposite way round which left them a little dejected, probably made worst by the fact Cambridge City went on to win the final.
The third fourth playoff was against Cambridge Juniors who we beat earlier in the day but the dejection from our previous loss was clear to see, with us not giving our best performance and unfortunately losing and finishing 4th overall.

Not the final outcome we were all after but it’s been an absolute pleasure to coach such a nice group of well-mannered, keen to learn boys and there are a number of them who will still be eligible for the under 10s next season with the others I’m sure making an impact as they join the under 12s.

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